Choosing a spot to volunteer in the United States is an overwhelming task. There are so many diverse cities, landscapes, and histories that will drive you mad with research. Why not go back to the roots of the States where the birth of modern American history is captured and displayed for all to see? As the capital of the U.S., there is something unique about Washington D.C. that cannot be found in any other city in the country. Volunteer in Washington D.C. to obtain that international experience you’ve been looking for while also receiving that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that you are doing some meaningful work.
What you need to know about volunteering in Washington D.C.
With 176 foreign embassies, a range of non-profit headquarters, and loads of international organizations, finding a fit volunteer project will be a breeze. And no, this is NOT fake news. As a volunteer, Washington D.C. will charm your heart and give you a different view of America as not seen in the media.
Popular causes/projects in Washington D.C. Volunteer opportunities are abundant at non-profits around D.C. Some organizations help place volunteers within local agencies based on their skills and ambitions. Whether you are interested in social justice, tutoring refugees, or promoting affordable housing, you can work with mentors to find what is right for you. Think to yourself, “What do I love?!” and with a click of a button you can be placed in a cause you truly care for.
Short term volunteer programs in Washington D.C. Volunteer for a short stint to test out the waters on what could eventually be a potential career path. Alternatively, volunteering may just give you a quick break from the daily grind to indulge in other hobbies you enjoy. Luckily, Washington D.C. is dense enough to fully enjoy on a time-crunch. And if that is the case, you still can explore the American culture while loading up on hot dogs and baseball games.
Long term volunteer projects in Washington D.C. If time and budget allow, take that leap and stay a while. You are sure to feel more dedicated to the cause with a long term volunteer project. Your calling may be social justice or humanitarian aid and staying longer will give you more confidence in your work. What better way to enhance your resume than to commit to helping the development of the people in need the most? If you volunteer in Washington D.C. long enough, you will no doubt have enough time to grab all the best brunch in the District!
Life in Washington D.C. for international volunteers
Volunteering in D.C. will give you a true experience of American history and allow you to even become a part of it. Although Washington D.C. volunteer opportunities may not be the cheapest option, there are plenty of activities that are of no cost. You could spend countless hours perusing the National Mall and exploring all 19 of the free Smithsonian museums. There are also monuments and memorials that surround the area, bringing in 22 million tourists each year. You can also take a free tour of the Library of Congress, one of the largest libraries in the world.
Today, Washington D.C. exemplifies many of the struggles presented in the United States. Racial tensions remain present ever since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, provoking riots throughout the country. These riots led to much of Washington D.C. being burnt to the ground over the course of five days. As a place of high political stature, D.C. sees almost every type of protest. Nevertheless, the District of Columbia has remained an interesting and provocative city ever since it was proclaimed the capital in 1790.
GoAbroad Insider Tips for volunteers in Washington D.C.
- Make sure to check out Georgetown and Alexandria, Virginia while in Washington D.C. Georgetown is a local favorite and the oldest and most historic neighborhood in the District. Just across the Potomac River is Alexandria, Virginia which is known for its markets, boutiques, and excellent waterfront restaurants.
- Washington D.C.’s transit is amazing. If you have heard rumors about the country’s overall lack of public transportation, D.C.’s will carry your worries away. Whether by subway or foot, volunteers should take advantage of living in the most walkable city in the country. You can even explore some of the fantastic parks which sit at every major intersection!
- The best times to volunteer in Washington D.C. are in either spring or fall, as the weather is mild and the colors are vibrant. Spring offers the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and fall is great for indulging in pumpkin spice lattes while cheering on D.C.’s professional football and baseball teams.
By partaking in a Washington D.C. volunteer program you are engaging in an amazing history. You can experience American protests while learning first-hand what people really think about the politics. Indeed, the nation’s capitol will show you that protesters and politicians alike are just regular people who have a passion to advocate for American society. So put down that large stressful map of the U.S. and volunteer in Washington D.C. It will cover everything you need to get a true American experience.
Ready to fly on over to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in The United States.